The Hand of Ethelberta HTML version

20. The Neighbourhood Of The Hall - The
Road Home
London was illuminated by the broad full moon. The
pavements looked white as if mantled with snow; ordinary
houses were sublimated to the rank of public buildings,
public buildings to palaces, and the faces of women walking
the streets to those of calendared saints and guardian-
angels, by the pure bleaching light from the sky.
In the quiet little street where opened the private door of the
Hall chosen by Ethelberta for her story-telling, a brougham
was waiting. The time was about eleven o'clock; and
presently a lady came out from the building, the moonbeams
forthwith flooding her face, which they showed to be that of
the Story-teller herself. She hastened across to the carriage,
when a second thought arrested her motion: telling the man-
servant and a woman inside the brougham to wait for her,
she wrapped up her features and glided round to the front of
the house, where she paused to observe the carriages and
cabs driving up to receive the fashionable crowd stepping
down from the doors. Standing here in the throng which her
own talent and ingenuity had drawn together, she appeared
to enjoy herself by listening for a minute or two to the names
of several persons of more or less distinction as they were
called out, and then regarded attentively the faces of others
of lesser degree: to scrutinize the latter was, as the event
proved, the real object of the journey from round the corner.
When nearly every one had left the doors, she turned back
disappointed. Ethelberta had been fancying that her
alienated lover Christopher was in the back rows to-night,
but, as far as could now be observed, the hopeful
supposition was a false one.